We've been listening and learning about the intersection between environmentalism, the Black Lives Matter movement and consumer consumption. It's been illuminating and sometimes challenging to read, and we are not exempt from the hard conversations and processes that we need to engage with as a purpose-driven company.
At WAES, we set out to create a zero-compromise, plastic-free product. This means we manufacture in Portugal to EU regulations in an amazing factory packed full of the most skilful individuals. We pay fairly and count our limited number of suppliers as friends. There is no exploitation in our supply chains, and we are either involved daily (half the team live 30 minutes from the factory) or have visited suppliers, often as longterm friends, broken bread and shared our stories. But we recognise the systemic issues at play in our industry, and while we are actively trying to make our world better and fairer, we know it is a long road and that there is much more we can do.
We operate a direct model, from our factory to your door. Our price is all people, materials and process without a 2.5x margin for traditional retail to take their cut. And yes, even then sustainability is somewhat elitist, the privilege of those who can afford it, and this also has to become more inclusive. Bringing our prices down is something we are working on, we don't want plastic-free to be an exclusive choice, we want it to be the everyday reality.
A scroll through our Instagram feed will show that we are a fairly diverse bunch with 50% of our key company individuals being non-white and roughly 50% BIPOC representation on our brand imagery. But this isn't enough, and we are far from perfect and want to acknowledge and recognise our position.
When we talk about race, we need to understand it from both the level of individual bias and structural racism and privilege. We are privileged, whatever our personal stories, most of us at WAES were born lucky.
Moving on, we are enshrining our commitment to the future in transparent tenets which will be baked into future growth. This will include increased activism, engagement, education and accountability.